Te Araroa: Day 1-4
Getting to Cape Reinga
I got up at 6 am, had a shower and a short breakfast at McDonalds. At 6:45 am I started roadwalking towards Cape Reinga, hoping to get a hitch rather soon. It took some 20 minutes until I got my first ride from a local Maori to Whaiharara, as soon as I left that car another Maori couple showed up and gave me a ride to Pukenui.
I walked another 2km before a German/Canadian couple on a working holiday Visa gave me a 10min ride to the blueberry farm they were working at. Just another 15 minutes later 3 Indian guys from Auckland raced down the narrow road and as I stepped away from the road they actually stopped and offered a ride.
I jumped into the car and we drove all the way to Cape Reinga, sometimes going 180kmh, while listening to loud Punjabi music.
We arrived at Cape Reinga at 9:15 am, took some pictures and than I left my indian driving party to officially start the Te Araroa Trail.
Indian driving party
First kilometers of the trail
Day 1: Cape Reinga to Twilight Beach Camp (12km)
The first day was pretty easy and short. The trail went straight to the beach and stayed there for most of the time. Walking there was much easier than expected as the tide was low and I'm therefore able to hike on the wet and solid sand. Just 3.5 hrs later I arrived at my designated campsite for the night. Twilight Beach Micro Camp, where I met Alex again.
Alex was on the same bus from Auckland but hitched to Cape Reinga one day earlier. Unfortunately it took him 6 hrs to get to Cape Reinga, I only needed 2 hrs.
Alex at Twilight Beach
We considered hiking on, but proper campsites on 90 mile beach are scarce and so we decided to stay. We went down to the beach, played soccer with an old football that we found at the campsite and met some local maori fishermen, who gave us some green mussels for dinner. We cooked them until they opened up and added them to our ramen noodles. Just before sunset Callum (Uk) and two swiss hikers also arrived at that campsite.
Twilight Beach Campsite
I went to bed at 10 pm and had no idea of what a terrible night was waiting for me. I already didn't feel great due to a cold that I probably got from the airplane aircondition and was really looking forward to a good night's rest, but in that particular night a possum showed up regularly trying to steal my food.
I realized it just as the possum was poking my feet which rested on my food bag, at that time, the possum had already destroyed the inner mesh of my tent and was halfway thru. I kicked it out of my tent, but that didn't last for long. The possum showed up every half an hour, jumping on my backpack, running around my tent and so on.
Stairs to 90 mile beach
I therefore didn't get much sleep and felt even worse the next day which started with a little bit of rain and a massive headache.
Day 2: Twilight Beach Camp to Maunganui Bluff (28km)
Those upcoming to next campsite were really hard for me.
I was all covered up in my rain gear, incredibly tired and exhausted and happy to reach the campsite at Maunganui Bluff by 3 pm. By that time the weather had cleared up and it got quite hot again.
I set up my tent, ate an orange that I got from Tania who was promoting her Utea campsite, took a painkiller and passed out before 5pm. It helped.
Day 3: Maunganui Bluff to Utea Park (30km)
I felt great the next day. Got up at 6 am, left camp by 6:30 am and felt well rested and strong. I started my drone a few times and enjoyed hiking along the beach. I was fast and completed the next 30 km section by 1:15 pm.
We spent the rest of the day at the Utea Park Campsite, enjoying Tania's blueberry smoothies and talking to some other travellers. Just before sunset I took my drone for some scenic shots and encountered some of the many wild horses.
90 mile beach
Sunset at Utea Park
Sunset at Utea Park
Day 4: Utea Park to Ahipara (31km)
Day 4 started with dew and wet tents. It was cloudy for most of the day which allowed for fast and easy hiking. I came across some dead fish on the beach, including an Stingray and a shark. Around noon I arrived at Ahipara, did my chores and had some town food. Alex and Callum arrived a few hours later and we had some great ping pong games at the holiday park.